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October 21, 2014

Presenting the Perfect Cocktail With Pewter Barware, Jiggers, Flasks

Filed under: Just for Fun — Tags: , , , — Liz @ 4:06 PM

Pewter Coin Jigger

When it comes to mixing the perfect drink, precision is everything. For example, a traditional dry gin martini consists of the following:

1 jigger of gin
1 oz dry vermouth
Mix together and garnish with lemon or olive.

A cosmopolitan, on the other hand, uses a slightly more detailed recipe:

1 jigger of vodka
1 oz orange liquer
1 oz cranberry juice
1/2 oz lime juice
Mix together and garnish with lime peel.

With all the effort that goes into preparing the perfect cocktail, why not enhance the presentation with our Pewter barware, jiggers, flasks? We have a variety of styles to suit your needs. Our 2 oz jiggers like Derby and Jefferson Cup match our other beautiful barware. In addition, we have stand alone pieces like the Pewter Coin Jigger (shown above) CCDSJthat add a unique element to your bar. For more complex drinks and mixologists, we even have a traditional double sided jigger that will complement any bar service.

Finally, you can finish off your perfect cocktail with our drink stirrers. Whether you’re sipping drinks after a long game of golf or prefer to daydream about sailing and the seas, our stylish stirrers will offer you and your guests a decorative and functional flourish.

For more information about Pewter barware, jiggers, flasks that can make your cocktails both beautiful and delicious, please contact us.


February 28, 2013

Traditional Wedding Gifts are Back in Style

CCT-crest-BWhile weddings can happen any time of year—even in a snow storm as reported on the news this year!—late spring and early summer are traditionally the season of weddings.  May, June and August are the three most popular months for weddings. The time of year when Old Man Winter finally relaxes his icy grip on the earth is naturally the season for new beginnings.

But something interesting happens to brides as they approach their new lives: they start looking back to old traditions. Maybe it stems from a desire to connect with the generations that have gone before us. Even our snow storm bride mentioned above was thrilled to be married in a snow storm because her parents’ wedding was accompanied by one just like it. And as couples are waiting longer to get married, and brides are older than in previous years, they come to the altar with a greater appreciation of things that have true value.

Some wedding gifts never go out of style; they’re just rediscovered year after year by gift-givers and fortunate recipients alike. Engraved silver and pewter heirloom-quality gifts such as wedding cups, trays, jewel boxes, and coffee and tea sets provide a daily reminder to the newlyweds not just of that life-changing event, but the generosity of treasured friends who chose to commemorate it with something timeless.

If someone you know is approaching a milestone, whatever the season or weather, come see what we have available at Silver and Pewter Gifts. We offer free standard shipping for all purchases over $50, as well as inexpensive aids for cleaning and storing fine silver and pewter. Most engraved items ship within two days of ordering, so contact us today.


February 21, 2013

Chesapeake Bay Gifts for the Crab Lover in Your Life

Filed under: Just for Fun — Tags: , , — Liz @ 2:32 PM

CRABThere are not many families in this day and age that stay in the same home for a lifetime. Jobs change, houses are bought or sold and life just happens. No matter where we live, we often form strong attachments to the lifestyle of the region. In many cases we end up moving once again to a new adventure in a new place.

Keeping ahold of those cherished memories is much easier when you have something physical to hang onto. However, when we move things sometimes get left behind, broken or simply lost.

If you have ever lived or vacationed in the Chesapeake Bay area of the Mid-Atlantic you probably harbor fond thoughts about life on the bay. The blue crab is an integral part of not only the regions seafood industry, but also for those who have spent time there.

Saturday afternoons spent at the campground, crabbing in the brackish waters off the docks. Eating the spicy steamed crustaceans with their bright orange color and tasty morsels of crabmeat. Summer picnics with a bucket load of blues spread over the picnic table covered with newspaper. Whacking at the hard claws with a mallet and feeling your lips burn from the Old Bay Seasoning.

Even if you live far from the shores of Maryland or Virginia, you can still own a piece of the area with Chesapeake Bay gifts. No matter if for yourself or someone else, all of the silver and pewter gifts are proudly made in the USA. These hand-crafted pieces can be custom engraved to make them all that more special. A beautifully made cast pewter crab or whimsical blue crab bracelet will remind you of what the area is famous for. Finding a gift for fans of the bay is easy with ornaments, jewelry and other Chesapeake themed items.

If you have a love of the Chesapeake, but find yourself far away from its beautiful surroundings and delectable seafood; a selection from our Chesapeake gift collection will keep the bay forever close. For more information on these and the other fine gift choices we have to offer, please contact us .


February 13, 2013

What are Porringers?

P813You’ve probably seen them in museums, your grandmother’s display cabinet, or perhaps in Colonial Williamsburg, but not known what they are called. Porringers are shallow, round bowls with flat, horizontal handles on one or both sides of the rim. While there is some dispute about their origins, it is well-known that they adorned medieval dining tables and have been made of wood, ceramic, pewter and silver. Fancy porringers often had the owners’ initials engraved on the handle, and there are some lovely early American examples, such as the Paul Revere silver porringer which sold via Sotheby’s in 2010 for $46,875!

The relationship between the words “porringer” and “porridge” makes it likely that children, and probably adults, have been using porringers to eat porridge—as well as gruel, broth, and so forth—for hundreds of years. Over time, modern bowls evolved and lost the handles that made porringers unique. However, porringers are still beautiful tableware, and make traditional, meaningful and practical birth and christening gifts.

The handles of our baby porringers range in style from a traditional William and Mary to a modern bow, from a Williamsburg-era scalloped shell to a polished pewter rope. Rather than the time-honored, but limited, option of engraving initials on the handle, we give you much greater scope with the option of engraving the inside of the bowl with anything ranging from a monogram or initials up to 4 lines of text. We have sets that include a matching spoon or cup as well.

A porringer truly is an elegant gift—one that you can be certain will be treasured for a lifetime, and passed down from one grandmother’s display cabinet to another. So contact us and let’s put together that perfect porringer christening gift!


June 27, 2011

We Love Blue Crabs

Filed under: Just for Fun — Liz @ 6:45 PM

Blue Crab Gift SetI may be biased, but I truly believe there is no other place on the planet that produces such a perfect crustacean as the waters of our Chesapeake Bay. The Blue Crab is an important part of the economy of the Bay and also its most famous and delicious food.

The traditional crab feast;  hot and spicy steamed crabs spread out on a picnic table covered in newspaper, and ice cold beer, cheese, pickles and crackers!  Plus a couple of rolls of paper towels.  And don’t forget your crab picking tools, the Carvel Hall Knife is the old-times favorite tool for digging the crab out.  The mallet, whether wood or metal are best to use on those tasty claws!  These are the essential utensils for enjoying that oh-so-good crabmeat.   Without a doubt,  there is no better way to spend a summer afternoon with friends and family here on the Eastern Shore of Maryland!

Of course, steamed crabs are only one way to go.  Another absolute favorite is the Crab Cake, best made with the backfin crab meat.  These are so popular that every restaurant and seafood house on the bay has them on their menus.  As recipes vary, there is hardly any debate about how to make the best crab cake – simply use fresh backfin crabmeat and then only enough of the other ingredients to hold them together while broiling or pan frying.  Try also Crab Imperial or Crab Norfolk for easy to make, gourmet quality meals.

It is important to remember that these crustaceans are an integral part of our Chesapeake Bay, both ecologically and economically.  Over the years, the population of the crabs has dwindled due to loss of habitat , over harvesting and development.  There are many groups and foundations, such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, that are dedicated to protecting and preserving this treasured natural resource.


March 5, 2010

Salt Cellars and Shakers

Filed under: Just for Fun — Tags: , , , — Liz @ 12:35 PM

I was recently researching the history of the use of a salt cellar and really became fascinated by this seemingly common table accessory.  I happen to use salt cellars all the time in my home after I received a set from my grandmother many years ago.  It turns out, that they were regularly used in homes up until around 1950, when the salt shaker became the utensil of choice.COsalt-gs

For thousands of centuries, salt was highly prized for its ability to preserve and flavor food.  It was the most sought after commodity and was even used to pay the soldiers of the Roman Legion.  Today it is valued not only for a flavor enhancer but also it is used widely in manufacturing.

Salt cellars, also called an open salt,  include a small salt spoon for dispensing. They were a typical dining tool used in wealthier homes since the middle ages and were kept at the head of the table near the host.  If you were a visitor in that house, and were seated next to the host (hence near the salt cellar), you were consider a very special and welcome guest.   Up until the early part of the 20th century, salt was sold in cakes which had to be crumbled for serving.  In the 1850’s, John Landis Mason (inventor of the Mason Jar) invented the salt shaker.  It still took about 90 years for that novel idea to take hold, and it wasn’t until finely milled salt was available, that households discarded their cellars and started using shakers.

Today, salt cellars are a rage.  With a wide variety of gourmet salt available, there is no better way to show the fine color and quality of these salts than by using a cellar.  Larger ones, called salt pigs, are now commonly used by the stove for easy access while cooking.   Add elegance to your dining or kitchen table by taking a step back to a simpler and more interesting way of serving this famous condiment.


January 28, 2010

The Legend Behind Valentine’s Day

Filed under: Just for Fun — Liz @ 10:49 AM

Queen Anne Heart Embossed Jewel Box

Every February 14 loved ones exchange candy, flowers, cards and gifts in the name of St. Valentine. But who was St. Valentine and why do we celebrate this holiday in his honor?  Several legends surround the observance of this romantic day, but none have been substantiated. As is common with many holidays, the meaning and celebration of Valentine’s Day has evolved over time, perhaps holding one of the oldest and most storied histories.

The Catholic Church recognizes three martyred saints named Valentine, although the lore surrounding each one is not always clear. One legend claims that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome, who, after Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men, defied the order and performed marriages in secret. When discovered, he was arrested and eventually put to death. The legend continues when Valentine, while in jail, fell in love with a beautiful young girl. Before his death, he wrote her a love letter and signed it “From Your Valentine” , a sentiment still popular today.

Some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in February to honor the anniversary of Valentine’s death; others contend that the Church designated the Ides of February as Valentine’s Feast Day in order to legitimize a pagan Greco-Roman fertility festival called Luperci. In the Middle Ages, it was believed that mid-February began the birds mating season, furthering the notion that Valentine’s Day glorifies romance.

By the 18th century, Valentine’s Day was widely recognized as a time when friends and lovers would exchange tokens of affection and handwritten notes. By the end of the 19th century, mass-produced Valentine greeting cards became a popular means for people to express their feelings at a time when that kind of behavior was generally discouraged. In the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day was extended to include all kinds of gifts, including jewelry and romantic trinkets. Gift giving was typically from a man to a woman, but has since expanded so that Valentine sentiments are now exchanged universally.

So what kind of Valentine’s gift is appropriate for your loved one? Silver and Pewter Gifts offers a huge selection of quality, handcrafted pewter and sterling silver pieces that are sure to bring delight to your Valentine, especially when custom engraved with your personal message of affection. Jewel boxes lined in velvet, picture frames, vases, trays, bowls, candlesticks, pitchers, bracelets and many other items are the perfect choice to honor romance.

And what about the man in your life? Silver and Pewter Gifts has many items that any man would wish for: flasks, tankards, desktop accessories and barware, all crafted in fine pewter. Most pieces can be engraved to include a personal Valentine sentiment.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day the modern way is certainly more clear and more meaningful than in Roman times. Enjoy the day and pay tribute to love and affection.


September 23, 2009

A Practical Switch from Sterling to Pewter

Filed under: Just for Fun — Liz @ 1:41 PM

c4282df247f9d977aa9a34693e7dc419.image.350x350A local customer recently walked through the front door, having seen our attractive window display featuring beautiful, shiny pewter pieces. She announced to us that she was finished with continually polishing her large collection of sterling silver tableware and was switching to maintenance-free, non-tarnishing pewter!

She was amazed at the large assortment of pewter items we offer and immediately purchased a Revere Bowl, a Four-Sided Nut Bowl and 5 x 7 Wide Border Picture Frame. This same customer left by saying she would return periodically to purchase a pewter replacement for each sterling piece she owned, with the ultimate intention of replacing every one. I think she will be a very good customer!

This scenario led me to think about my own extensive sterling silver collection. The pieces in my possession are family heirlooms handed down through the generations or wedding gifts received more than 32 years ago. Each piece is beautiful and meaningful, but where are they now? Hidden away in a closed armoire, carefully wrapped in the original felt and enclosed in plastic bags. I can’t even remember what is there anymore! The next question – when do I ever use my beautiful sterling? The answer – almost never, since it’s just too much trouble to route through the stacks, unwrap and then subsequently polish the now-tarnished silver. So now I’m wondering if this clever customer isn’t onto something big!

Polished pewter has the look of fine sterling, but since it is non-tarnishing, needs only occasional care with a gentle polish. Pewter is made of the highest quality lead-free alloy, so it will never tarnish, rust or corrode.  Pewter is completely food safe and with the proper care, can last for generations.  We recommend washing your pewter in warm, soapy water using a mild soap and dry with a soft towel.  Remember to NEVER put pewter in a dishwasher or expose it to excessive heat or an open flame.  If cared for in this manner, pewter will maintain its lovely patina for years to come – with no work!


August 19, 2009

10th Anniversary!

Filed under: Just for Fun — Liz @ 7:56 PM
Heart Embossed Jewel Box

Heart Embossed Jewel Box

A nice gentleman called the other day in a panic!  His 10th anniversary was coming up this weekend and he had to move fast to have something, not only beautiful, but appropriate for this special day.  He had looked up the traditional gifts to present to his wife and found that for this anniversary the gift should be tin.  Although traditional, by today’s standards, a tin pie plate would be a very under appreciated gift!  And there really is not that much out there that could be considered worthy of such an important milestone in one’s marriage.  But in his research, he found that quality pewter like ours, is made from 93% tin with a little copper, antimony and bismuth added for durability. Not only that, but the pewter shines like silver, will last a lifetime and never needs to be polished! His problem was solved!  He was able to get three beautiful engraved gifts for his wife;  a pewter picture frame,  a lovely jewel box and a set of pewter napkin rings.

He had the frame engraved on the bottom “Happy 10th Anniversary” and had a great picture of them from their honeymoon that he was using for it.  The jewel box has a very pretty embossed heart on it where a personal sentimental message was engraved within the heart.  I won’t reveal what that said, but I do know that he was putting something in it. The napkin rings were the practical part of the gift. They are rather formal  and so he had us engrave each one with their bridal monogram in an interlocking font.

I’m sure our customers wife was extremely surprised when he presented these “tin” 10th anniversary gifts to her. As they are heirloom quality, she will be able to treasure all three items for many, many years to come.


©2010 Chesapeake Traditions